Monday, March 14, 2016

Home Sweet Home

One of the guys rooms at the SHOC - hammocks
are the way to go when on a missions trip to Mexico!
Whew, we're home again.

It was a long trip home on Sunday.  We rolled into Big Rapids around 5 a.m. and unloaded the vans, sorted duffles, sleeping bags, pillows and all of the other random odds and ends that get collected on a trip like this.  (Pretty sure every front door on the vans had someone's bottle of vanilla stashed in there for safe keeping!).  The guys house residents (Devon, Cameron and Justin) helped deliver other students to their apartments around town and made room for a few of the guys to stay overnight at the guys house.  CMU students reloaded all of their stuff into their cars and left for the last hour drive back to Mt. Pleasant, while Joe, Mitch and myself got back into the vans and went south again to drop off the vans.  We could have just waited and done it today, but once we're home, it's just really nice to be home again and not have to worry about that loose end. Based on Facebook, most of our students slept a majority of the day and are still dragging a little today. It's amazing how tired you are after a trip like this.

It was one of the best trips that we've ever had.  All of our students were incredible and willing to do everything and anything we asked them to do.  I don't think I've ever had so many volunteers to help with meals before - it was great!  They worked hard, laughed harder and served with everything that they had.  They worked through burst blisters, slivers, sawdust in their eyes and pulled muscles, all with a smile on their face. We're so proud of them and their efforts!  They're all back to a normal routine as of this morning and my Facebook feed has been filled with "I wish I could be back there again!" comments and photos.  (I think most of them legitimately want to be back and it's not just because of the homework that is resurfacing again this week!).  I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to go to Mexico this year and we're already excited for this year!  (Although, I am glad Mitch's dream was only a dream and we're not preparing to leave again with another group on Friday).

Still sorting through all of the photos that we took during the week, but here's some more for you to see.  I'll have one more post this year with the link to our Facebook photos for you to see more of them, but here's a few more for you now:

We were a little intimidating when we pulled into places! 

This is how we needed coffee every day!

Tyler was trying to share some love with an incredibly thorny bush

Morgan and Kate with the best apple soda ever!

Lunch at the Casas headquarters on Thursday!

The outside of City Museum in St. Louis - you can climb on everything!
Jim and Tyler in one of the caves at City Museum

Looking down from the top floor of a 10 story slide!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Feels like a bad breakup

It's hard to believe that the trip is almost over.

A week ago, we were in Amarillo, TX getting dinner and stretching before the final stretch into Roswell. Tonight, we're in Bloomington, IL getting dinner before the final stretch home. FSU has about 7 hours to home (counting the time changes), CMU is around 8.5 and MTU will be around 10 hours, not counting any stops. For being behind yesterday, we're doing great tonight! We're in Bloomington much earlier than normal and we have taken over the Steak'n'Shake. This might not have been the best choice if we want to continue to make good time, but greasy, gut bombs and milkshakes just sounded good. And our mission trip fund is paying for dinner, so no one is complaining.

We stopped and played at City Museum in St. Louis and got a lot of the backcracks out. After running around in tunnels, up and down slides, in and out of buildings, airplanes and trolleys, we're sweaty and stinky! It was a lot of fun though and everyone enjoyed it. Well, except for Lauren and Jon who are both feeling sick :( Almost home and then they can sleep. Until then, they're not allowed to breathe on anyone else and I (Kate) threatened harm to Jon if he breathes on my pillow that he's borrowing.

It feels like a breakup though as we say goodbye to Tech. I think this is the trip where people from campuses connected the most with each other. There has been incredible community building between the campuses and people are honestly sad to see each other leave. It feels like the start of a breakup. We have a few hours before the stop and go dropoffs begin. We'll drop off Erich in St. Joe, MI, Taylor in Kalamazoo, Nick and Alex from Tech who will ride with us to Grand Rapids to pick up a car and Central's cars from Rogers Heights. It'll be a late, long night but we get to sleep in our own beds and shower at home within 12 hours and that's a nice thing to look forward to.

More photos will be up on the blog and Facebook over the next few days since we'll have more than 4G to use. Thanks for following up on our trip and praying for us! You are loved and appreciated!!

Friday, March 11, 2016


Its been a long day. A good day, but a long day. We're still in Texas and will be for a few more hours. This is by far the hardest day of the entire trip. This is the day that we keep pounding rubber and it still feels like we haven't made any progress. It's a long drive to go across the entire state, and attitudes are beginning to show the strain of being packed into seats with no personal space and the scenery never changes.

BUT, we really are making progress (even if it doesn't feel like it) and we're only 10.5 hours from City Museum where we'll be able to play and run for awhile. That will be a good break, a chance to get some of the stiffness out and some more fun adventures as a group. City Museum is not a museum like you're accustomed to, but a giant jungle gym designed for anyone too tall for the McDonalds playplaces. Its awesome and we are all excited!

We really are doing good (sorry if this post doesn't make it sound like it!). People have been having good conversations and the drivers did great today! Rain slowed us and other drivers down and we went past a few accidents. They all did great and all of us and our vans are intact. "Jerk Tyler" (Tyler's alter ego) has disappeared until the cards games begin again (apparently, his personality changes as soon as a deck of cards comes out), but British Taylor is emerging as Joe keeps dropping pillows in his lap. Josh is crashed in the crevace watching Adventure Time while the others play Who Am I and Joe's distracted with old school Reliant K on the radio.  Michigan Tech's passengers were planning on sleeping and Red van has been sorting photos from the trip and talking about the favorite memories. Yellow van was cheering for Stacie to come back into their van, but she ditched them to grab a window seat in Blue to try and sleep. She, Baleigh and Bruce are all starting to feel sore throats, but Medic Jon is on it and watching out for them.

It's raining again, but we're full of pizza, there are fresh drivers in all the vans and we're ready to put some  miles between us and Texas! Talk to you tomorrow!